Everything You Need to Know to Plan a Productive Move: Part 4 of Highland’s Guide to Efficient Moving

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Now that you’ve crossed step three of Highland’s exclusive guide to an efficient move off your checklist (gather your packing supplies) your next move must be to start packing, right?

Wrong!

Before you pack for your move, it’s crucial that you go through all your belongings to decide what’s worth moving in the first place! That leads us to the true next step of the moving process…

Step 4: Declutter your space.

When was the last time you used that extra desk chair in your basement from your parents’ house? Or read the anthology of literary theory you skimmed through to pass that one university class? We’re guessing it’s been quite a while.

If there’s one thing you learn when you start getting ready for a move, it’s that somehow over time, without even realizing it, you’ve accumulated A LOT of stuff! Chances are, you haven’t needed or used at least a quarter of it in years. Another quarter you probably didn’t even know you had. Don’t waste your time, effort, or supplies packing up and moving these items.

It’s time to purge.

Once you have your packing supplies, your next move will be to go through your things and sort them. Even if you’re hiring professionals to do your packing, you’ll need to decide what’s coming with you to the new house so you can have it organized for them. Separate your items into four categories: keep, sell, donate, and toss.

What should I keep when I move?

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It’s best to start with a list of essential items to set aside so they’re not lost in the fray of moving. Hold on to what you use most often and those things that are most valuable to you, both monetarily and sentimentally. These should be pretty easy to identify, but here are a few examples to give you an idea:

Electronics

Grab your television sets, stereo, computer, gaming systems, and all of the wires, chargers, and hardware you need to go along with them.

Appliances

Unless your new house comes equipped with major appliances, you don’t want to leave behind the ones you’ve invested in. Plan to take your washer, dryer, refrigerator, air conditioner units, microwave, and all other small kitchen appliances.

Heirlooms

Antique items that are worth money or have personal value to you should also be on your essentials list when it comes to packing. Be sure to keep track of your favorite framed photos and albums, fine jewelry, and great grandma’s stained-glass lamp in the living room.

Practical Items

This is your everyday, need-it-to-function stuff that you’re always using. Your practical items will consist of things like everyday kitchenware, bathroom supplies, medications, essential furniture, linens, and a good chunk of your clothes closet.

What should I get rid of when I move?

A lot of packrats will start to sort through their belongings and say, “but I might need/want this one day!” If you just dug it out of your decrepit basement and wiped a thick layer of dust off its surface—you don’t need it. If you did, it wouldn’t have been there in the first place!

There are a few rules of thumb for you to follow when deciding what to purge before a move.

Toss anything you forgot about.

Anything you find as you sort that makes you say, “Wow, I haven’t seen that in years!” or “Oh my gosh, we still have this?” needs to be sold, donated, or kicked to the curb. This goes for all areas of your house—kitchen cabinets, the extra room upstairs, desk drawers, and even your closet. If you haven’t used it, worn it, or looked at it in a year or more, it’s time to say goodbye.

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Ditch the extras.

Do you really need the college mini fridge that’s been sitting in your basement when you have a perfectly functional one in your kitchen? The answer is no, you don’t. Discard any spare items, old linens, excess dishware, and other auxiliary items you don’t use enough to justify the energy it takes to pack them.

Perishable food is a no-go.

You may be tempted to try to salvage food from your refrigerator or freezer as you move, but it’s not worth it. Most food will go bad before it makes it to your new fridge, get lost in transit, or your movers will not even be allowed to transport it. See if you can donate it somewhere local, give it to a neighbor, or throw a going away party and have your friends and family eat it!

A few places to start your purge:

  • Entertainment center (all the DVDs you can now watch anytime on one of your 4 streaming services)
  • Bookshelves (how often do you read the copy of Dante’s Inferno you ambitiously bought on clearance four years ago?)
  • Linen closet (there’s no use for that set of twin sheets now that you’ve upgraded to a king bed)
  • Pantry (do you really need 15 coffee mugs between you and your spouse?)

After you’ve decided which belongings you’re going to part with and what’s coming with you to the new house, it’s time to get down to business and start packing your “keep” piles! But we’ll wait to get into the gritty details until our next eBook step.

If you’re ready to jump ahead to the packing phase of your move, we won’t make you wait. Click the button below to download our free eBook, A Mover’s Guide to Efficient Moving, and take advantage of the expertise of the Highland packing team!